Position: Edge defender
Weight: 260 pounds
School: Kentucky Wildcats
Josh Allen 2019 NFL Draft Profile
For the second straight season, a prospect by the name of Josh Allen will hear his name called by Roger Goodell on day one of the draft. The similarities end there, though. Last year’s Allen plays that all-important position on the offensive side of the ball while this year’s is one of the top edge rusher prospects of the 2019 draft class. Still, it’s a position that commands its own vital importance in today’s NFL.
Allen was a relatively unheralded recruit coming out of Montclair, NJ. Though Rivals rated him top-30 among prospects coming out of the state of New Jersey, Kentucky was the only school who offered him a scholarship. This was likely due to concerns about his size as he weighed only 220 pounds coming out of high school. But that year, he showed great potential as a pass rusher given that he led the state in sacks.
Allen played primarily in a reserve role as a true freshman but that changed one year later. It was then that he began to showcase legitimate playmaking ability on the edge. He registered seven sacks which led his team while also tallying an SEC-best four forced fumbles. In 2018, he further cemented himself as a highly coveted pass rusher prospect as he led the Wildcats in sacks (7.0), tackles for loss (9.5), and quarterback hurries (4). And his time in the weight room paid off as he added 40 pounds of muscle mass while in Lexington.
- a solid combination of size and overall length;
- impressive initial burst when the ball is snapped;
- excellent edge bender with the ability to get underneath his blocker’s hand action;
- utilizes powerful pull and jerk to disengage blocker;
- can induce panic holds with his speed off the snap;
- effortless reactive athleticism when tracking the ball;
- doesn’t need to get on the stat sheet to make his presence felt;
- displays good awareness and instincts when dropping into coverage;
- versatile enough to be valuable in either 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.
- too often reliant on finesse and athleticism instead of utilizing raw power;
- a bit one-dimensional from the standpoint of pass rush moves;
- anticipatory instincts while defending the run needs some work;
- tends to sacrifice leverage by playing too upright;
- could improve ability as a wrap-up tackler – left a lot of negative plays out there.
NFL Comparison: Leonard Floyd
Teams With Need at Position: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins
Projection: Top five pick
This year’s crop of draft prospects contains a veritable treasure trove of talent on the defensive front. Allen is about as good as it gets in that regard. Expectations were high for him in 2018 and he didn’t disappoint, helping Kentucky complete one of the most successful seasons in program history. It played a part in him consolidating his draft stock with him now one of the most sought after edge defenders in this year’s class.
Allen checks many boxes when it comes to physical traits and athletic ability teams look for at his position. Though he could improve in the conversion of speed to power to fully unlock how he unleashes leverage, his potential is enormous. He should immediately enter a training camp and compete for starter-level reps. For that reason, Allen will be one of the first players off the board come April.